Tagged with healthy eating

…Give Up Fast Food?…

Over 4 years ago I made a pledge to myself to give up ALL fast food.

This means no McDonald’s, No Burger King, No Taco Bell, No Sonic….No place that was a “fast food” chain.  And to this day that had been one of my best choices.  I did it for several reasons…

1) To save money! After calculating how much I spent each month on fast food that was DOUBLE my budget for my grocery bill!  I learned to plan out my meals, make a menu, and stick to my monthly budget and it has helped me save HUNDREDS of dollars each year.

2)To eat healthier.  I am not saying that fast food places do not have healthy options for you.  Now they have done a great job at having alternative to offer families instead of the usual menu items.  Like offering fruit instead of fries.  Or having milk or juice instead of carbonated beverages.  They have done a great job over the years to add some healthier options to their menus.  But, for me, I felt that the variety of things that the grocery store was better and most cost-effective for me than going to grab something at my local fast food place.

3) To help me learn what I need to eat and to be more mindful of the things that I put in my body.  Since then I have gotten leaner and gotten better results physically.  Not having the luxury of just driving up someplace and getting food has made me actually think about what I want and what I need to eat on a daily basis.  I have adopted a much healthier eating habit not to mention I have saved money!

 

There are tons of articles and studies on how “healthy” some of the items fast food places sale to you.  And yes most of them are true.  Hence why it is better to take your own pledge to limit or cut out fast food from your diet.

You do not have to quit cold turkey! And like I said before, they do have some healthier options on the menu. But make sure that the healthy option is not tainted with double ranch dressing or with other things that will help diminish its healthy intentions.  You have to learn what is on the menu, how much of it you can have, and what to add/take away to keep that healthy meal within the “healthy meal” range.

One of the most important things about starting on a new health journey is know what is the right and wrong things to eat.  And the things in the image above are the WRONG things to consume on a regular basis.  I am not going to lie to you and say that I do not enjoy a nice burger.  But I enjoy that burger every once in a while.  You have to learn what you need on a regular basis and what you can have in moderation.

Each fast food restaurant should have a “Nutritional Facts” guide posted in their store or on their website (and to be honest most regular restaurants are starting to have them as well).  It would be smart to look at them before you go to get your food so you can have in mind what are the best things and the worst things they have on their menus.

It is wise to NOT super size/enlarge your meals when asked.  Also, limit the kind of condiments that you use on your meal. Even though Buffets are good for your pocket-book it is best to stay away from them! This is just a sure way for you to overeat, or eat several plate full of items that should be eaten in moderation. If you do go to a buffet try not to go up for seconds.  Try to know what is a good portion size and make sure to get those portion sizes when you go up for your first entrée. And if you are still hungry, drink some water and wait a bit until you make your second trip.  Sometimes it takes a little bit for your brain to realize that you are full so waiting will allow your food/drink to settle and for you to realize if you are truly full or not.

There are some more great tips in THIS article that will help you when making your fast food decisions.

Hope that this was a great tip to get your guys through the weekend! Happy Friday! And do not forget…ANY DAY is a GREAT DAY to start being healthy!






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…infinite life fitness recipe: turkey meatballs…

turkey meatballs

When it comes to clean eating you have to find recipes that will accommodate your busy lifestyle.  the best way to do this is to prepare meals in advance that you can just grab and go!  This will allow you to have meals ready for you at home so you are not tempted to “grab something on the go” from you local fast food place.

There are SO many recipes for food items that you can make in only a short amount of time! Just think, cook a few things on Sunday evening and you will have meals that will last you all week! That is exactly what I do.  I will prepare meals that I can keep in the fridge (and I will honestly freeze the other half of the items that I cook so they will last me longer than a week if needed).  As the saying goes:

Fail to plan….Plan to fail!

Today I will share with you something that can be made in LESS THAN an hour and this meal can last you for a few days! You can make these type of meatballs with any type of ground lean meat (ground chicken, lean beef, bison, venison, or any other type of meat of your choice!

What you will need:

  • 1 package of lean ground meat (in this recipe i used 99% lean ground turkey)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup of oats (you can add anywhere from NO oats to a full cup of oats.  Adding more will increase the macro-nutrients of your meal)
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 2 tsp of low sodium meat seasonings (Mrs. Dash is a GREAT option but McCormick and other generic brands also offer various good options as well) OR you can use any other type of spices that you would like (get creative and throw in a different variety of things)
  • You can add diced onions, peppers, tomatoes, or any other veggies that you would like!! For this batch i did not add any of those items

What you will do:

  • Set the oven to 350 degrees
  • get a cookie sheet and line it with a sheet of foil
  • Mix all of the above ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • mix all of the ingredients together
  • get a 1/3 measuring cup and scoop the mixture into the cup and slightly pat it down to get any air pockets out.
  • You can make the scoop somewhat level (this will yield 8-10 balls depending on how much you level off your scoops
  • Drop the contents of the measuring cup evenly throughout the baking sheet (make sure to spread them out somewhat so they are not directly touching each other.  You can also use a muffin tin if you do not have a cookie sheet.  Spritz the muffin pan with olive oil so they will not stick.  Just place the contents of the measuring cup in each slot in the muffin tin)
  • After all of the mixture is scooped up and evenly distributed place them in the oven.
  • It will take anywhere from 20-35 minutes for them to cook. You will have to watch them to see how quickly they start to brown on the outside and cut one to make sure they cooked thoroughly.
  • Sit and let cool
  • ENJOY!!!!

With each meal I will suggest eating 2-3 meatballs.  This will yield approximately 4-6 oz of meat per serving.  You can pair these with veggies, rice, sweet potatoes, or any other sides of your choice! In the morning I will grab a few of these, toss them in a container with some veggies and other side dishes and have a full quick meal ready for lunch (or dinner!).  You can garnish these with salsa or any other sauces that are your favorites.  As with any sauces be careful how much you drizzle on them! Some sauces pack a lot of calories so try to stick with lower calorie options to keep your meal healthy and low on calories.

Like I said previously you can get creative and add/substitute other things to this to make this dish how YOU like it.

 






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…infinite life fitness recipe: C.T. Crunch Protein Pancakes…

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My favorite breakfast item = Protein pancakes!

These are easy to make, have a high amount of protein and a small amount of carbs.

When you have a healthy diet you have to try to create things that will satisfy your urge for things such as pancakes and waffles.  In all honesty there hit the spot for me!  When i have craving for traditional breakfast foods, i just create something similar BUT my meal is lower in carbs and higher in protein.

What you will need:

  • First Phorm  CT Crunch Whey Protein (or any other type of cinnamon protein)
  • (2) egg whites
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup of water or Almond milk (add this until the batter is the consistency that you would like!  The more liquid the batter the more pancakes you can make…BUT it will make flatter/slimmer pancakes)
  • add sweetener to your own preference ( I used 1 tbsp of equal sweetener
  • Walden’s Farm Pancake Syrup 

How to cook the pancakes:

  • turn on your stove top to medium heat and get a frying pan and lightly spritz it with olive oil
  • mix all ingredients into a mixing bowl
  • Mix ingredients until the batter is mixed completely.  Add water or almond milk to make the batter the consistency that you would like
  • At this time you can add nuts, fruit, or any other items that you would like to be cooked into the pancake!  I have also added dark chocolate chips and this is also a great addition to this breakfast treat!
  • Add batter to pan and let pancakes cook ( do not forget to flip the pancakes when they are ready).
  • Once they have cooked place them on your dish and allow to cool
  • Add syrup (I personally use Walden’s Farm sugar free syrup)
  • ENJOY!!!

CTpancakes_1

Reaching your health and fitness goals require you to find things that will supplement your diet without completely depriving you of things that you want and crave.  Yes you can enjoy the things you love but in moderation!  But if you choose to say on track with healthy eating you have to learn how to make substitutions with your recipes to make the recipe healthier for your lifestyle and goals.






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…Fat loss vs. Weight Loss…

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You have to change your focus and your mindset to help you reach your goals!
Try not to focus so much on the scale number.

You should focus on your percent body fat AND how you look and feel.

The scale does not always share the progress that you have.  The scale should be something you use once a month (and no more than that!)  Some people get so caught up with the scale number so you take your focus off of quality workouts.

Some people obsess over the scale and fail to properly train or eat right because they want the scale number to go down.  YOUR BODY NEEDS FOOD!  You should not starve yourself or skip meals just to watch the scale number go down.

Just as fast as the numbers go down is the same speed that it can quickly come back.  You have to find a safe and effective balance to cut the weight and sculpt your body the way that  it should be.

Another thing is that you should make realistic goals so you can accurately achieve them in a reasonable amount of time.  You should aim to lose 1-3 pounds a week.  That is a good healthy goal to shoot for.

And the next main thing is that you need to be patient!  Consistency is key and with time you will start to see the results you have been working for!






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…”Healthy” foods that are UNhealthy: Part 1…

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If you see any of the following words on a package make sure to think about how “healthy” they actually are for you…

  • Reduced Fat
  • Sugar Free
  • Diet
  • Fat Free
  • Low Fat
  • No Added Sugar

These type of words are used to help grab your attention and to help you think that they are indeed the healthier option for you. In most cases it is “healthier’ than the regular product that they sale. But is that product good for you to eat in the first place?

Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter:

Why is it good?

It contains monounsaturated fat. This is the “good” kind of fat that you can have in your diet.

Why is it bad?

Most of these types of products that are made to be “reduced fat’ are jammed packed with MORE sugar! And, in most cases this sugar is HIGHLY processed which makes it not as good for you. So how is it “reduced fat” with more sugar? great question!!

Eating an excess amount of this kind of sugar has been proven to cause tooth decay and lead to unwanted weight gain.

Both regular and reduced fat peanut butter carry about the same amount of calories. The biggest and most problematic issue is that the reduced fat usually contains a lot more sugar.  It is safe to steer away from store-bought and try to get all natural peanut butter in this case. There are all natural organic peanut butters available (or almond butter).  You can also find these items for a great price if you look around and maybe consider purchasing it online.

Bran Muffins Bagels with Cream Cheese:

Why is it good?
To be honest it is not good. They have been given the reputation for being healthy and a healthy option for breakfast or a snack.
Why is it bad?
These are jammed packed with sugar and refined flour. Two things that you should try to limit in your diet or steer clear from it.  Yes it does contains a small amount of fiber, but other than that there is actually minimal nutritional value in bran muffins.

Bagels with Cream Cheese:

Why is it good?

This is a quick and easy meal option and is filling.  It is great to have on the go!

Why is it bad?

First of all it is just a lot of bread to consume at one time for one meal.  It has about 60 grams of carbohydrates and could also have MORE than 300 calories.  And that is without the cream cheese or jelly most people pile on top of both slices of their bagels.  Again items like this are made with the over processed flour you should shy away from and of course corn syrup.  It also has minimal nutritional value.  So it is wise to have only one 1/2 of the bagel with eggs or some other kind of substitute to increase nutritional value and to get more nutrition with your meal.

You always want to reach for the 100% whole grain or whole wheat options when it comes to bread or pasta.  It is better for you and has more nutritional value than regular “white” bread or pastas.

Granola Bars:

Why is it good?

They are packed with oats, nuts, dried fruit, and can also contain seeds.  All of these are indeed good for you! So why would you think negative about a snack containing all of these things?

Why is it bad?

Granola Bars are not as good for you because of one simple thing…the “glue” that holds the granola together to create that delicious granola bar you like to snack on. That glue is nothing more than high-fructose corn syrup.  All this does is quickly increases your blood sugar which in returns limits how you actually digest the oats and nuts and other healthier things that are in the granola bar.  Along with the high sugar content comes the high calorie count.

Yogurt cups with the fruit or granola in the bottom:

Why is it good?

Yogurt is high in nutrients.  It also contains active cultures which are great for digestion and your immune system.

Why is it bad?

Despite the high calorie count, this too is packed full of sugar! And yes that preserved fruit in the high fructose corn syrup mixture is not any better for you either.

Try plain yogurt with you favorite FRESH fruit (or thawed out frozen fruit that was not preserved in syrup).  It is a healthier options not to mention cuts down the calorie count dramatically!

Pretzels:

Why is it good?

It is a healthier option that potato chips.  Not to mention that there is a low-fat content in each serving size.

Why is it bad?

These are nutritionally empty! They don’t have a big nutritional value at all. Not to mention all the sodium that is packed into the salty seasoning covering every small piece of the pretzels. Not to mention it too is made of the over processed flour that should be limited in your diet.

Try to find a whole wheat or whole grain option.  You can also substitute pretzels for other things such as vegetable, fruits, or even a handful of nuts.

I hope this gave you an insight on some food to watch out for the next time you go to the grocery store to buy your food.

Stay tuned for part two! There are dozens of food on grocery store shelves masked as “low-fat” or “healthy” when they indeed are not as healthy as you think they are.

 






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…Taco Tuesday?…

Does your family regularly participate in weekly meals?

When I was a child, I knew that some days of the week we would be graced with tacos…or spaghetti…or burgers. And as a child,  I think there is nothing more exciting than expecting to have one of your favorite meals each week!

BUT this could be a potential problem for those who are trying to adapt healthier eating habits,

NO WORRIES! I am sharing some healthier alternatives that can turn your Taco Tuesday into a HEALTHIER Taco Tuesday.  Now you and your family can keep your taco date each week without you breaking your healthy eating habit! :-)

  • Try using LOW FAT sour cream and cheese.  This can help cut those unwanted calorie intake in almost half!
  • Try using soft tortillas and try to use WHOLE WHEAT tortillas instead of the traditional shells.
  • Have you ever considered using ground turkey meat instead of regular meat?  If you do not like turkey meat try to get LEAN hamburger meat.
  • Try to have steamed veggies instead of Mexican rice and beans (or you can use black beans for a healthier option!)
  • Try to measure out correct portion sizes for your tacos/taco salad so you are sure to not double the food you are supposed to consume for the meal!
  • Skip the carbonated drinks or sweet tea! Try to stick to water for your beverage of choice
  • try to limit or cut out guacamole!  Yes it is healthy for you but it packs a lot of calories!
  • Think about using shopped baked chicken or shrimp instead of beef!

Still want chips with your meal? Try to make your own! Get a normal round tortilla, lightly spread some olive oil on top, slice the tortilla into the desired chip sizes you would like, then sprinkle it with sea salt (or any other spices you may have).  Put your over on 350 degrees.  Place your tortillas in the over for about 15 minutes.  MAKE SURE TO WATCH IT!  They get brown pretty quickly.  You can let them get as brown as you would like before they burn (the browner they are the more crunchy they are!)  Take them out and let them cool for about 10 minutes, and you have healthier “chips” for you to enjoy with your meal.

There are a lot of things you can change or add to make your family meals a healthier meal!  You just have to be mindful of the ingredients you are using and learn what to substitute to help make it taste just as yummy as you would like! You do not have to sacrifice good tasting food so you can eat healthier!

Happy Taco Tuesday!

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…Food For Thought…

Do you REALLY understand the things that you are eating?

Do you REALLY understand the “foods” that you are putting in your body?

The best goal to have is to consume foods that will nourish and fuel the body.

Yes we are all human and may crave some of the most unhealthy things to eat…BUT there is a time and a place to enjoy them in MODERATION!

Reaching your health and fitness goals can be done best by eating right and sticking with your workout schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

 






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…Friday Food for Thought…

Here are some great food ideas to try to cook for this weekend!

I suggest try them out first, then if you like them, double the ingredients and make more so you will have some in the fridge or freezer to have for lunch/dinner next week! This is a great idea for people who are busy and like the convenience of just running home and throwing something in the microwave.

Speaking of frozen food, you want to watch to see what frozen foods you do choose to buy and eat.  Some meal options are over processed and has tons of sodium and other things added and are not as healthy as you think they are for you.  The best things that are good to buy frozen are fruits and veggies (with no syrup of sugar added of course). Some people argue that they lose nutritional value, but that has not been completely proven.  It is also a cost-effective way to stack up on veggies if they are on sale.  I personally like fresh fruits and veggies the best but some veggies (like corn, okra, green beans) I will buy frozen because I can usually find them on sale and because they last longer when frozen (since I try to cook different meals each week).

Frozen meat, chicken, and seafood can sometimes be bad for you as well.  If it was baked or grilled then it should be OK.  But if it states that it has been fried, “crispy” or breaded on the package then it is probably not as healthy as you think.  Also be aware of the sodium content that is in the frozen product.  The best advice is to get these kind of things separately on your own at the store when they are on sale and put them in baggies or vacuum sealer bags and freeze them yourself.  I like to separate them out so I can grab one of a few chicken breast to thaw out and cook with and leave the other 5 in the freezer until I need them again.

What about those Lean Cuisines or Healthy Choice meals? Well some of those are OK for you.  But like listed above check the nutritional label.  Some of them are packed with sodium and other things that was added to the food before freezing.  And to be honest sometimes it is cheaper to buy the things separate and make up a few meals that contain the same things as these frozen meals.  It is indeed a healthier option and it may save you money!

Feel free to check out this article or  this article to read more about Frozen Food facts and questions other people had about freezing food.

This weeks recipes:

 

Herbed Rice Pilaf

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

3 Tbsp minced red onion
1 1/2 Tbsp minced baby carrot
2 tsp canola oil
3/4 tsp thyme
3/4 c instant brown rice
1 1/4c chicken broth

1. In a saucepan, combine onion, carrot, oil,
thyme, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, over
medium heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add
rice. Stir to coat with seasonings. Add broth.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover so mixture
just simmers. Cook for 12 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
Fluff with fork.

Makes four servings.
 Per serving: 188 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 126 mg sodium, 29 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6 g
protein
***This dish is served great with grilled some chicken or fish 



Chicken Fajitas
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


1/2 c minced red or white onion
1 c  minced Mushrooms
2 tsp Olive Oil
3/4 tsp basil
1-2 c cut up chicken breast
bag of whole wheat tortillas
1. Cook chicken breast to desired liking in oven at 400 degrees
2. In sauce pan on high heat cook mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions
****Note you are allowed to add/subtract any type of veggies into your fajitas!
3. Cook veggies on high heat for just a few minutes (just to brown them)
add desired spices
5. Cut up cut chicken and add it to the veggies.
6. heat tortillas or serve fajitas on tortillas right out of the bag

Home Made NoN Fried Tortilla chips
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Here is a healthier option for those tortilla chip lovers out there!!

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Get whole wheat tortillas

BEFORE YOU CUT THEM brush on olive oil (Make sure to LIGHTLY cover entire front service of tortilla with olive oil)

then cut the tortilla into your desired shapes/sizes

Place pieces on a baking sheet

Choose your own type of seasonings to put on top of chips (above has salt, garlic salt, and Italian seasonings)JUST SPRINKLE IT. you do not have to make sure the chips are completely covered.

Place baking sheet in over for approximately 10 minutes

WATCH THE OVEN! THESE COOK VERY FAST AND WILL GO FROM BROWN TO BURNT IN SECONDS.  Once they are your desired golden brown take them out. Let them cool off, and place in a bag or container.

***You can add all types of seasoning to the chips to give them desired flavoring.  I have tried chile  lime to have zesty chips, or a BBQ chipotle to make BBQ chips.

 

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms

***Another option to pair with grilled chicken or fish

Prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated Fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly spray a cookie sheet with vegetable cooking spray.
  2. Place the asparagus and mushrooms in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then season with rosemary, salt, and pepper, lemon juice; toss well. Lay the asparagus and mushrooms out on the prepared pan in an even layer. Drizzle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the veggies. Roast in the preheated oven until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. (roast in oven a few minutes shorter to keep them crisper)
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Hope these are some great meal options to start you off! Remember to try to make a menu BEFORE you go to the grocery store so you can make several different meals to have throughout the week. Happy Friday, Happy Cooking, and Eating!!





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